How to Make Fermented Garlic Honey

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How to make fermented garlic honey; a tasty condiment with cold and flu combatting abilities, immune-boosting properties, and an impressive shelf-life; perfect for enjoying for years to come! Best of all, all you need is two ingredients and a sterilized jar!

Hand holding a jar with fermented honey garlic

Whether you want to consider this as fermented garlic honey or honey fermented garlic, the process and dish are the same. By combining fresh garlic with raw honey and allowing it to ferment, you end up with garlic that is sweetened and mellowed and garlic-infused honey that not only tastes good but packs a punch of health benefits too!

When it comes to garlic, in my opinion, you can never have too much. I recently posted recipes for pickled garlic and the TikTok trending spicy pickled garlic. I’ve previously shared recipes for garlic confit and garlic toum (a Lebanese garlic sauce). Now it’s the turn of this garlic fermented in honey with the ultimate shelf life. 

Enjoy it when you feel a cold coming on or have a sore throat, or drizzle the honey over pizza, veggies, add into marinades and dressings, or to a whole array of other dishes (keep reading for suggestions!)

Top view of a jar with fermented honey garlic

There may be a weeny bit of a learning curve when it comes to fermented products, but (in my opinion anyway), the results are worth it. Just like homemade kombucha, this fermented garlic is something I not only enjoy making but enjoy eating too (and there are so many ways to use it too!).

Not only is this honey garlic ferment shelf-stable, but unlike other methods to preserve garlic (which often carry the risk of botulism), for this method, it is improbable. The acidity of honey means that bacteria are largely unable to survive and multiply, making this honey’s shelf life potentially endless. That is if it’s stored with a tight lid on at all times when not being used.

Garlic and Honey Health Benefits

Both garlic and honey have been used for many decades (or longer) for traditional remedies. When combined, the two provide anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and immune-boosting properties. This makes this fermented garlic perfect for enjoying during cold/flu season!

Honey and garlic

In fact, the antimicrobial properties of honey make it seem like an unlikely choice for a fermentation medium. However, fermenting garlic in honey allows the garlic to release enough juices into the honey to allow for the fermentation process. 

On top of the above, several studies have found that garlic may also be beneficial towards heart health by lowering blood pressure, cholesterol and preventing clotting and hardened/stiff blood vessels. 

More so, the high antioxidant content in both ingredients means that it may help to protect our brains from inflammation-based diseases such as dementia and Alzheimers.

The Ingredients

Ingredients for fermented honey garlic

The Ingredients

  • Raw honey: make sure to use raw, unpasteurized honey. The process won’t work if it’s not raw, as the microbes will have been killed off in the pasteurization process. 
  • Garlic: it’s best to use the freshest garlic you can find for the quickest and best fermentation results.

You may also like this chili and garlic-infused honey.

How to Make Fermented Garlic Honey

Step 1: Prepare the garlic

First, you’ll need to peel the garlic using one of several methods. Then transfer the peeled garlic cloves to a sterilized glass jar with an airtight seal.

It’s a good idea to lightly crush or chop the cloves in half to speed up the fermentation process. Alternatively, you could prod the whole cloves a few times – to encourage the release of their juices into the honey.

Garlic cloves separated from peels on a wooden board

Step 2: Add the honey and ferment

Then, fill the jar with honey, mix it, and then seal it. 

Once sealed, turn the jar upside down (this is why a good seal is essential) and set it aside. Place a plate beneath the jar, just in case, though I’ve never had issues with overspill/leaks.

For two weeks, you’ll need to ‘burp’ the jar daily. To do this, open the lid to allow any build-up of gases (CO2) to release and then close, shake (or stir it), turn upside down, and set aside again. 

Be quick while doing this as too much oxygen introduced to the honey and garlic at this stage can impact the fermentation process. Just a quick opening of the lid should be enough to release the gases.

Steps for making fermented honey garlic

During this time, you’ll likely see “activity” in the form of foaming or bubbling within the jar. The amount can vary, and it won’t always be majorly noticeable. The honey will become more watery, too, as the garlic releases liquid into the mixture. 

After two weeks, the fermented garlic is ready to enjoy, though I’d wait a month for even better results! If you don’t plan on using it very often, then it may still need burping occasionally, though the build-up of gases will slow down over time.

Fermented Honey Garlic - Fermented honey garlic in a jar

How to Store?

Store the jar of fermented garlic and honey in a cool dark location away from direct sunshine – like a kitchen cupboard or pantry. As long as you store the honey with an airtight lid and don’t allow any moisture to enter the jar, then the garlic honey can last for years! 

Note that it’s normal for the honey and garlic to darken over time – it’s even normal for your garlic to turn blue/green (though this isn’t typical for a honey ferment) – it’s a natural reaction. 

Upside down jar with fermented honey garlic

What Are the Fermented Garlic Honey Uses?

There are tons of ways to enjoy this garlic fermented in honey. Here are just a few of my top suggestions. 

  • Eat one of the honey-soaked garlic cloves when you feel a cold/sore throat coming on.
  • Eat a spoonful of the garlic-infused honey for the same reason as above.
  • Use the infused honey for salad dressings and marinades.
  • Drizzle it over cheese – like goats cheese, ricotta, etc.
  • Spread it over toast, cornbread, pretzels, and breakfast muffins, etc. 
  • Drizzle over pizza.
  • Use as a glaze for your favorite protein: meat, fish, or tofu!
  • Drizzle some over roasted or stir-fried veggies.
  • Use the mellowed garlic in dips like hummus or this white bean dip.

Let me know in the comments how else you’d enjoy the honey, garlic, or both combined!

Top view of garlic and honey in a jar

FAQs

Is there a risk of botulism with fermented garlic honey?

While the risk is very minimal, you can test the garlic honey mixture if you are concerned. Botulism can only survive in specific environments and acidity levels. To test this, you can use a pH strip (or monitor). Any reading under 4.6 is considered safe. If it’s slightly above that, you could add a little apple cider vinegar to the mixture to lower the pH before consuming it.

My garlic isn’t sinking, why?

Garlic can take some time to sink in the mixture as it releases its juices into the honey – usually based on how fresh it is (though usually between 1-2 months). It should eventually sink, though. The aim at the beginning is for the garlic to be covered by the honey as much as possible to prevent spoilage. 

Can I use my first batch of garlic honey as a ‘starter’ for the next fermented garlic?

Unlike yogurt, where the microbes in the ‘starter’ will help kickstart the new mixture, this doesn’t work in the same way for fermented garlic honey. The fermentation process goes through several stages, and I’m afraid that ‘skipping’ some or trying to ‘hack’ it could not only impact the ferment but possibly cause food safety issues. I don’t know this for sure – but better safe than sorry!

Do I need to cut/crush the garlic?

It’s not 100% necessary, though it can help to speed up the fermenting process. This is because the garlic releasing its liquid into the honey is part of the fermentation process. If you want to have whole cloves but still ‘quickstart’ the process, you could use a fork or knife to prod the cloves a few times. 

Can I use pasteurized honey for fermented garlic?

No! Unfortunately, pasteurized honey kills off all the microbes that are needed for the fermentation process to work. Please use raw, unpasteurized honey.

Can I use maple syrup instead of honey?

This isn’t something I’ve tried so I can’t say for sure. The water content within maple is quite a bit higher than honey so that will impact its shelf life. The pH level is also a lot higher than honey and so may not be safe in terms of the risk of botulism unless extra ingredients like vinegar and other acidic elements are added to reduce the pH. 

Fermented Honey Garlic - Fermented honey garlic in a jar

Recipe Notes and Top Tips

  • To avoid manually burping the jar: you can use a self-burping bale wire jar (fido jars) or purchase jars with airlock lids or other ferment lids. Just make sure to still shake the jar to keep the garlic submerged.
  • Using fermenting weights: one way to make sure the garlic stays submerged under the honey throughout is to use fermenting weights. You can buy fermenting jars that come with weights to fit those jars specifically. 
  • The fresher the garlic, the better: use the freshest garlic possible as it will produce the quickest and best ferment. 
  • Leave a little headspace: some batches may foam up more than others and cause overspill. For that reason, I always leave headspace at the top of the jar. 
  • The perfect fermentation period: the best time to begin enjoying your fermented garlic honey is when the main fermentation is over. It won’t be as foamy, the honey will have thinned out and started to darken, and the garlic will have sunk to the bottom of the jar. This usually takes between 4-6 weeks. Though waiting 3 months is even better. If you have the patience, I recommend waiting a year for a genuinely delicious surprise!
  • How much honey to use: while it’s important to use enough honey to submerge the garlic entirely, there IS such a thing as too much honey. I recommend using around a 1:1 ratio of garlic to honey. If you use too much, then the anti-microbial properties in the honey will essentially ‘smother’ the garlic. If you want to add more honey, you may also need to add a little water to the honey to kickstart the fermentation process. 

Other Preserving Recipes

You can see my complete list of ‘DIYs’ for more inspiration. However, here is just a small list of other methods I use to help preserve ingredients!

If you try this fermented garlic honey recipe, I’d love to hear your thoughts/questions below. Also, I’d really appreciate a recipe card rating below, and feel free to tag me in your recipe recreations on Instagram @Alphafoodie!

Fermented Garlic Honey

5 from 30 votes
By: Samira
How to make fermented garlic honey; a tasty condiment with cold and flu combatting abilities, immune-boosting properties, and an impressive shelf-life; perfect for enjoying for years to come! Best of all, all you need is two ingredients and a sterilized jar!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 14 days 5 minutes
Servings: 16 Tablespoons

Ingredients 
 

  • 1 cup garlic cloves
  • 1 cup raw honey

You can use more or less, just make sure the ratio is 1:1.

    Instructions 

    Step 1: Prepare the garlic

    • You’ll need to peel the garlic using one of several methods. Then transfer the peeled garlic cloves to a sterilized glass jar with an airtight seal.
    • It’s a good idea to lightly crush or chop the cloves in half to speed up the fermentation process. Alternatively, you could prod the whole cloves a few times – to encourage the release of their juices into the honey.

    Step 2: Add the honey and ferment

    • Fill the jar with honey, mix it, and then seal it.
    • Once sealed, turn the jar upside down (this is why a good seal is essential) and set it aside. Place a plate beneath the jar, just in case, though I’ve never had issues with overspill/leaks.
    • For two weeks, you’ll need to ‘burp’ the jar daily. To do this, open the lid to allow any build-up of gases (co2) to release and then close, shake (or stir it), turn upside down, and set aside again.
      Be quick while doing this as too much oxygen introduced to the honey and garlic at this stage can impact the fermentation process. Just a quick opening of the lid should be enough to release the gases.
      During this time, you’ll likely see "activity" in the form of foaming or bubbling within the jar. The amount can vary, and it won’t always be majorly noticeable. The honey will become more watery, too, as the garlic releases liquid into the mixture.
    • After two weeks, the fermented garlic is ready to enjoy, though I’d wait a month for even better results! If you don’t plan on using it very often, then it may still need burping occasionally, though the build-up of gases will slow down over time.

    How to Store?

    • Store the jar of fermented garlic and honey in a cool dark location away from direct sunshine – like a kitchen cupboard or pantry. As long as you store the honey with an airtight lid and don’t allow any moisture to enter the jar, then the garlic honey can last for years!
      Note that it’s normal for the honey and garlic to darken over time – it’s even normal for your garlic to turn blue/green (though this isn’t typical for a honey ferment)- it’s a natural reaction.

    Notes

    • To avoid manually burping the jar: You can use a self-burping bale wire jar (fido jars) or purchase jars with airlock lids or other ferment lids. Just make sure to shake the jar still to keep the honey submerged.
    • Using fermenting weights: One way to make sure the garlic stays submerged under the honey even before it naturally sinks is to use fermenting weights. You can buy fermenting jars that come with weights to fit those jars specifically. 
    • The fresher the garlic, the better: Try to use the freshest garlic that you can as it will produce the quickest and best ferment. 
    • Leave a little headspace: While it’s not 100% necessary to do so, some batches may foam up more than others and cause overspill (especially with self-burping jars. For that reason, I always leave headspace at the top of the jar. 
    • The perfect fermentation period: The best time to begin enjoying your fermented garlic honey is when the main fermentation is over; it won’t be as foamy, the honey will have thinned out and started to darken, and the honey will have sunk to the bottom of the jar. This usually takes between 4-6 weeks. Though waiting 3 months is even better. If you have the patience, I recommend making sure some are left in the jar after a year for a genuinely delicious surprise!
    • How much honey to use: While it’s important to use enough honey to submerge the garlic entirely, there IS such a thing as too much honey when it comes to fermenting. I recommend using around a 1:1 ratio of garlic to honey. If you use too much, then the anti-microbial properties in the honey will essentially ‘smother’ the garlic rather than allow it to release its juices and begin the fermentation process. If you want to add more honey, you may also need to add a little water to the honey to kickstart the fermentation process.

     
    Please read the post for more answers to top FAQs!
    Course: Appetizer, Side
    Cuisine: American
    Shelf life: Several years

    Nutrition

    Serving: 1Tbsp, Calories: 77kcal, Carbohydrates: 20g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 2mg, Potassium: 45mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 17g, Vitamin A: 1IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 17mg, Iron: 1mg

    Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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    Recipe Rating




    76 Comments

    1. 5 stars
      I want to make this for Christmas gifts. I was wondering, if after using some of the garlic or honey, do I need to add more honey to it like you do when making vanilla (by adding more alcohol)? Thanks! Eager to try!

      1. Hi Char,
        That sounds like a great gift! It would be better to finish the fermented garlic and honey mix, it won’t taste the same if you top it off with honey as the fermentation process will be completed by then and won’t continue.

    2. I have had my garlic honey, in sealed containers sitting in a dark cupboard for over 8 months. I had totally forgot it was in there! I added a little bit of balsamic vinegar, when I first mixed everything together. The garlic honey is now black. Solid, dark black. Is it still good ?

    3. I didn’t think i’d like fermented garlic in honey, but i love it! Now wondering how much of it i can eat daily!! LOL

        1. Hello, the first batch I made didn’t last very long. The garlic and honey makes the fish and chicken taste really good. For this second batch, I decided to make a little more. But I noticed that there was some green on the garlic and it bubbles more than in the first batch. Is it safe to eat at all? Or should disregard the honey garlic? It smells just like honey and garlic. There is no awful smell, just smells like honey and garlic.

        2. Hi Elena,
          I’m glad the first batch was a success. Do you think the garlic you used with the second batch was perhaps not as fresh?

      1. I did everything correct step-by-step and my garlic is floating on the top of the jar not sinking to the bottom like you had stated so am I doing something wrong?

        1. Hi Gail,
          Did you perhaps try using fermenting weights? I like to keep the jar upside down as well.

    4. Why do you have to turn the jar upside down? I’m thinking it will be messier to burp the jar if the honey is near the lid. I’m going to give this a go next week, along with a jar of honey fermented elderberries!

      1. Hi Anna,
        It helps to keep the garlic submerged. The honey becomes more runny and burping it isn’t as messy as you might think 🙂

    5. Hello. Thank you for this very informative article. Can’t wait to try. One question. Can I use fermented honey I have several large jars and was wondering if the process with garlic would be different or not advised. Thanks so much.

      1. Hi Shelley,
        I would not recommend using it to ferment garlic in this recipe, rather stick to raw, fresh honey for the best results..

    6. Do you know if a little Ginger could be added to this? I like the taste of garlic honey and ginger, but I want a shelf stable as well

    7. My honey is a bit thick, not flowing but can still be spooned. Do I need to adjust the amount of honey? I know I don’t want to heat the honey as that will kill those important microbes. Do I add water to the honey? Should I use boiled then cooled to make flowing honey?

      1. Hi Debbie,
        You can use the thick honey, in the same amount as the recipe. There is no need to add water to it.

      1. Hi Grace,
        It’s not 100% necessary to mince the garlic, though it can help to speed up the fermenting process.